UPDATED: DECEMBER 2021
Do you have asthma or COPD? Are you worried about how COVID-19 will affect your respiratory condition?
Asthma WA would like to assure people with asthma and/or COPD that we are here for you.
Here is some information on COVID-19 which we hope will help you understand what it all means.
Note: Asthma WA will continue to monitor and publish updates. Our information is guided by the advice from the Department of Health and World Health Organisation. For the most current information on COVID-19 and vaccinations, please refer to their websites.
Coronaviruses are from a large family of viruses that can make people unwell with respiratory infections.
These include common colds and other more serious upper respiratory tract infections such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The World Health Organisation is referring to this most recent Coronavirus as COVID-19.
People living with asthma and/or COPD should be taking precautions when ANY TYPE of respiratory illness is present in the community. While people with asthma and/or COPD are no more likely to contract COVID-19 than anyone else in the community, the severity of their reaction to the virus may vary depending on their vulnerability.
To help reduce the severity of your reaction to COVID-19 should you come into contact with the respiratory illness, Asthma WA recommends that people living with asthma and/or COPD:
- ensure their respiratory condition is under control
- don’t wait for an asthma flare-up or COPD exacerbation, even if you have been symptom-free for a long period of time
- continue taking your prescribed medication and see your doctor for a review if you are still experiencing symptoms or if you don’t have a preventer
- Practice good hygiene and take steps to minimise their risk of exposure, as recommended by the Department of Health
- in addition to keeping up to date with influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations, ensure they are also fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (once they become eligible to receive the vaccine). To book a vaccination appointment speak to your doctor or go to Roll up for WA
Asthma WA can help you get your asthma and/or COPD under control.
Call Asthma WA on (08) 9289 3600 to book your FREE appointment with one of our Respiratory Health Nurses or Educators.
According to the Australian Government Department of Health people with COVD-19 may experience:
- fever (37.5°C+)
- flu-like symptoms such as (dry cough) coughing, sore throat and fatigue
- shortness of breath
- loss of smell and/or taste
If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
Health Direct have provided an online Symptom Checker to find out if you should seek medical help.
If you develop symptoms within 14 days of the last contact with a confirmed case or after returning to Australia, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will tell you if you need to get tested.
Testing of COVID-19 is available for any person presenting to a COVID-19 clinic with ANY of the following symptoms:
- fever (a temperature of 37.5˚C or higher)
- chills or night sweats
- sore throat
- tiredness (fatigue)
- difficulty breathing
- muscle pain (myalgia)
- loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
- distortion of sense of taste (dysgeusia)
- nausea and vomiting
- joint pain
- loss of appetite
- runny nose
- acute blocked nose (congestion)
- Uncommon symptoms may also occur. These include chest pain, diarrhoea and conjunctivitis
COVID-19 is a mild illness in approximately 80 per cent of cases — fever and cough are the most commonly reported symptoms. Children may experience milder symptoms than adults.
(Source: Health Direct)
For more information on testing and the COVID-19 clinics, visit Healthy WA
The virus is most likely spread from person-to-person through:
- direct close contact with a person while they are infectious
- close contact with a person who has been confirmed infected who coughs or sneezes, or
- touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
The definition of ‘close contacts’ includes those people who have been face to face with a person infected with the virus for at least 15 minutes or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours with an infected person.
Good hygiene is essential to protect you against infection and prevent the virus from spreading. This includes:
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- Disposing of tissues properly
- Washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet for at least 20 seconds
- Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
- Staying more than 1.5 metres away from people
- Cleaning and sanitising frequently used objects such as mobiles, keys and wallets
Physical distancing is also key to how we can slow the spread of viruses. By practising physical distancing, we reduce our non-essential contact with other people. The Australian Government has made a number of changes to assist with this.
It is also recommended that people with asthma and/or COPD are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.